Ok, what better to to make when you’re expecting to get snowed in than chili?!? (And I know I’m not alone here as I saw at least one other snowstorm chili picture on Instagram…Sarah!)
Well this is not a food blog. I don’t cook much. I have those few things that I can do well and I usually stick to those. But, seeing as I am recently obsessed with my vegetarian chili, and I did once win a chili cook-off (fine, it was an office chili cook-off but still!), I thought this one might be worth sharing quickly!
But first, just for your enjoyment, the story of my chili cook-off championship! So you know those tear-jerking underdog comes from behind sports movies (think Rudy!), this is a story not unlike that…
A few years ago the general manager at my old job decided we needed some sort of office bonding activity (and something he thought he could win since I had already won the March Madness pool and the office bowling outing, but those are stories for another time) – it was decided that the first annual XL Center Chili Cook-Off would be held! (I left later that year so no idea if it continued…I may still be the reigning champ!)
Most of the office was divided up into random teams, and then there was the group of misfits, the leftovers, the underdogs…the vegetarians. We were laughed at. We were teased. We knew what they were saying, “how could a chili without meat win a chili cook-off?” We didn’t listen to them. We were going to show up and we were going to make the best damn vegetarian chili in all the land! (Never mind that none of us had ever actually made chili before!)
All chili had to be made on site. We chopped. We stirred. We simmered. We tasted. We had a blast! (And when we weren’t sure what else to do we poured in some of the beer we were drinking!)
There were three REAL chef’s from local restaurants judging. When it was time to serve up our chili we really went for presentation (apparently after a few beers we thought presentation would make up for lack of meat). I hollowed out a spare red bell pepper, scooped in the chili, sat that in a margarita glass with a chili powder dusted rim and a lime wedge, added all the fixins and a hunk of cornbread on the side…it was beautiful!
We had tasted our chili before we served it and much to our surprise it was good. We began to think maybe, just maybe our meat-free freak of a chili had a shot at top 3. The judges tasted. They wrote down notes. They conferred with each other…and then it was time!
3rd place…not us.
2nd place…not us. (Pretty sure our group walked away to get another beer at this point…)
1st place…THE CHILI CHICKS! (Oh, did I not mention that was our name?!?)
We went CRAZY! (Everyone else just looked at the judges like they were crazy…) The judges confirmed that they too were never expecting for a vegetarian chili to win, but it was just that good! (One of the judges even asked for the recipe for his restaurant, but of course we really had no idea what we threw in the pot or how much of it.)
So, there you have it, the true story of the Chili Chicks Chili Cook-Off Championship!
And now, the Snowstorm Vegetarian Chili recipe! (Which is not the same as the Chili Chicks Championship Chili recipe, that one is lost forever…or I guess it never really existed.) Keep in mind this is NOT a food blog and I don’t often write recipe’s so this is all pretty rough! It only takes about half an hour to make and will serve 4-6.
Snowstorm Vegetarian Chili
1/2 a large onion
3 bell peppers (any color – I use red, yellow & orange)
2 small squash (I use 1 green, 1 yellow)
1 small can corn
2 15 oz. cans of beans rinsed (any kind – I use 1 cannellini and 1 red kidney)
3 cloves of garlic
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 packet of McCormick’s low sodium chili seasoning (**during the chili cook-off we didn’t use a packet of seasoning, we mixed our own, but this is just a lot easier!)
extra chili seasoning to taste
toppings of your choice! (I use avocado, cheese, onion and crushed tortilla chips)
What’s your favorite cold weather meal??
Have you ever won any sort of cooking contest?